U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version

December 2004


Emerging Infectious Diseases • www.cdc.gov/eid • Vol. 10, No. 12, December 2004. Copyright 2004. Permission to use.


Recent evidence suggests that American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) may be capable of transmitting West Nile virus (WNV) to other alligators. We experimentally exposed 24 juvenile alligators to WNV parenterally or orally. All became infected, and all but three sustained viremia titers >5.0 log10 PFU/mL (a threshold considered infectious for Culex quinquefasciatus mosquitoes) for 1 to 8 days. Noninoculated tankmates also became infected. The viremia profiles and multiple routes of infection suggest alligators may play an important role in WNV transmission in areas with high population densities of juvenile alligators.